Sneak Peek: MEC's M40T Telescopic Boom Lift

Following the announcement of its plan for an ambitious entry into the self-propelled boom lift market, MEC Aerial Work Platforms, Selma, Calif., intends to launch its first boom lift model, the M40T, at ConExpo • and as it currently stands, the company may unveil a pre-production unit at The Rental Show next week. In anticipation of the event, MEC has provided Lift and Access 360 with information on the first of several boom lifts slated for development over the next three to five years.

According to Steve Citron, director of business development, MEC's goal was to develop a new 40-foot boom lift that would provide a high level of features, specifications, and performance while maintaining an equal or improved level of reliability within a price range comparable to other industry leading boom lifts. This included utilizing standard industry design practices and suppliers to eliminate any durability and reliability risks associated with a new design. “We also sought to add to the utility of the platform by incorporating standard features and options that are not yet available from other manufacturers,” said David White, president of MEC's manufacturing division.

Boom and Platform Features
From a specification standpoint, the new 40-foot MEC M40T telescopic boom lift has more than 34 feet of outreach from the centerline of the turntable. At the other end of the spectrum, the unit's tailswing is only 2'3-3/8”.

MEC plans to offer the M40T in 500-, 750-, and 1,000-pound capacity configurations. The working envelope for the 500- and 750-pound models will be unrestricted, while the 1,000-pound capacity configuration will utilize envelope control, limiting the reach of the boom when the platform is loaded to maximum capacity. Platform rotation is a full 180-degree range of motion. “For the most part, our target specifications are a composite of the very best elements of every boom out there”, said Jim Tolle, president of MEC Aerial Work Platform Sales.

The two-stage boom incorporates an externally adjustable slide pad system for ease of maintenance and is constructed of cost-effective structural steel tubing with a welded channel that runs nearly the entire length of the boom, providing a protected path for cable and hoses and creating a larger and stiffer cross section. Continuous turntable rotation is 360 degrees, which is accomplished by a field-proven hydraulic and electrical swivel provided by HydroMotion.

Systems for Drive and Steer

MEC opted to implement the same Ford Gas/LP and Perkins diesel configurations that have been used on comparable models for years.

These engine configurations not only have a successful track record, but there is also a large population of mechanics in the field who are very familiar with them, and many have been formally trained on servicing these engines,” Citron said. Swing-out module trays provide easy service and maintenance access to all internal components. A 40-gallon fuel tank is standard equipment, and the fuel filler height is also in a low position, making it ergonomically easier to refuel the machine.

The company also selected field-proven Fairfield torque hubs, Sauer-Danfoss drive motors, and Eaton pumps, which have been utilized on access products for years. The M40T features a 5-mph drive speed, 35-percent

gradeability in two-wheel drive, and 50-percent gradeability in four-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive models also feature a full time Quad-Trax positive traction drive system consisting of multiple flow dividers that provide independent and equal power to each wheel, and a new patent-pending active oscillating axle system that will automatically sense the terrain and adjust the axle position based on ground conditions while the platform is elevated. According to Citron, the oscillating axle range of motion is more than 8 inches.

For two-wheel-steer maneuverability, the M40T features a 4'4” inside and 14'5” outside turning radius. The steering cylinder is located behind the front axle, offering some protection against front impact damage. The symmetrical base chassis has been designed to accept steering axles at both ends of the machine to provide for an advanced four-wheel-steer system that will be available at the end of the year.

Operator Interface

Both the platform and ground control panels feature boom control actuators positioned around a single machine image for ease of operator training and identification of joystick and toggle switch functions. The platform control panel incorporates two fully proportional boom function joysticks and one fully proportional drive joystick. The hydraulic circuit boasts multiple proportional valves, providing the ability to proportionally actuate up to four boom functions simultaneously. Citron said the controls will be common across MEC's telescopic boom lift line.

At press time, MEC said it has been seriously considering setting up the platform control box as the governing/master control panel when the key switch is set to the on position at the ground controls. A toggle switch at the ground controls would serve as both a platform control system override and a function enable, allowing boom functions to be activated at the ground control panel when this switch is actuated simultaneously with other boom function switches. When this combination override and enable switch is actuated, the platform control panel would be cut out. The control system also would automatically default to the platform control panel when the switch is released, and the ground controls would be cut out.

The control system incorporates a diagnostic display panel and fault indicator LEDs at the platform and ground control panel, which provide a general warning by flashing. The system also incorporates a set of interactive service and maintenance menus to allow for various system adjustments and displays other information, such as water and oil temperature, oil pressure, fuel level, battery voltage and maintenance reminders. A low-fuel indication system warns the operator when only four gallons are remaining and when fuel depletion is imminent. Both display panels are readable in direct sunlight.

MEC has adopted the drive enable safety cut-out circuit, which engages when the boom is rotated past a non-steer tire. “There are inherent advantages to this type of system from a safety perspective, not to mention the fact that some end-user segments have grown quite accustom to this type of circuit, due to the large field population of machines that have this feature,” said Citron.

Platform Productivity

MEC plans to offer multiple platforms including the standard 6-foot and optional 8-foot platforms, which feature a recessed top rail to reduce pinch point hazards. The platform rails and toe board are constructed of steel.

Two AC receptacles housed in outdoor-rated junction boxes in the platform and at the chassis provide AC power for models equipped with an optional generator package. A 12-volt DC, water-resistant, marine-grade power outlet is located in the platform to provide DC power for various items. A multi-purpose tool tray that features dual integrated cup holders and multiple compartments for staging small materials is also standard equipment.

An optional 3/8-inch diameter air line or water line can be attached at the bulkhead. Options and accessories including a panel holder, various welding options, and other productivity-enhancing items also are available.

MEC has teamed up with Stanley's hydraulic tool division to offer an optional pair of hydraulic lines, located in the platform and on the chassis to provide appropriate hydraulic flow and pressure to power a large selection of Stanley hydraulically-actuated tools.